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By Charlie Ambler, reposted from VICE
Is Consuming Like Crazy the Best Way to End Capitalism?
Hang out on Tumblr or in a dorm lounge long enough and eventually the talk will turn to ending capitalism. These discussions are all theoretical, of course—there have been endless attempts at shifting from our market-based economy to something more egalitarian and enlightened, but nothing has stuck and some of the larger scale efforts have turned into horrific disasters. Anti-capitalists of various stripes haven’t stopped coming up with theories about how this system could finally fall, however. One of these theories is called accelerationism—the idea is that hyper-stimulation of the market on a mass scale will end with the collapse of capitalism. Consume like crazy, only drink from styrofoam, and throw handfuls of dead batteries into our oceans so the impending apocalypse can hurry up and get over with.
The spread of this idea is rooted in Marx’s belief that capitalism can’t sustain itself forever and will eventually fizzle out. The means by which people will bring about its end are unclear, but that’s where the ideas about accelerationism come from. Accelerationism is essentially the belief that the best way to shorten capitalism’s lifespan is to push it to the extreme. If normal capitalism is Mick Jagger, accelerationism is Jim Morrison.
A while back, Steven Shaviro, who teaches at Detroit’s Wayne State and studies the impact of technological capitalism on culture and everyday life, wrote an essay about accelerationism, explaining what it is in language that wasn’t clouded by the usual academic jargon. Accelerationism has been explored by philosophers like Nick Land and Reza Negarestani, but Shaviro has become known as an authority on the topic—probably because he can articulate these complex philosophical ideas in a simple way that us plebs can understand. Shaviro just finished up a book out on accelerationism called No Speed Limit, so I called him up to learn more about the theory and see if my Amazon Prime addiction is actually helping society
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E-mail notice received from Center for Humans & Nature.
Join the Center for Humans and Nature, Ecomyths, and the
Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum as we bring science, policy,
and ethics to a timely panel discussion reflecting on the
Paris Climate Conference (COP21).
Stream or listen live to this conversation on Chicago Public Radio’s Worldview Thursday, December 10, at 12:00 noon CST on WBEZ 91.5 FM.
with Kathleen Dean Moore, Curt Meine,
Joel Brammeier, Adele Simmons, and
moderated by Worldview’s Jerome McDonnell
By S. C. Hickman at dark ecologies. A close, productive reading of Harman here I think. CS
Instead of exiling objects to the natural sciences (with the usual mixed emotions of condescension and fear), philosophy must reawaken its lost talent for unleashing the enfolded forces trapped in the things themselves. It is my belief that this will have to be the central concern of twenty-first-century philosophy.1
Philosophy as an engineering project or reclamation? Forces that must be awakened, brought to bare on the issues of our age, a revolution in those withdrawn and sleeping entities that seem to be forever waiting for something to happen. Is this the Philosopher as Hermes awakening the sleepers, or a software developer calling the hidden algorithms of some program awaiting its secret instructions. As I was revisiting Graham Harman’s early Tool-Being: Heidegger and the Metaphysics of Objects it struck me again that his work is not so much about objects as it is about those invisible forces locked away from direct…
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Bringing Interdisciplinary Sources to the Table: Urban College Writers Meet Leopold’s A Sand County Almanac
By Susan Jacobs, DePaul University
As a writing instructor at DePaul University, I find Leopold’s A Sand County Almanac an excellent tool for interdisciplinary learning. Most of our students live and study in Chicago’s gritty/glittering urban setting. We have access to innovative conservation efforts within multiple disciplines. In the midst of Daniel Burnham’s 19th century concrete grid, we have urban farms, environmentally-oriented social media, and multiple green architectural and commercial efforts.
Chicago City Grid
Some scholars would argue that interdisciplinary studies creates thinkers with broad awareness but shallow comprehension. I would argue that interdisciplinarity creates adaptable, innovative members of thinking communities.
I’ve taught the Almanac several times, and I’ve learned that finding primary resources in our urban setting demonstrates that everything is connected. As students learn about their urban biotic community, they open up to Leopold’s key ideas. I take shameless advantage of new sources that pop up—cultural exhibits, social media, organic food trucks, no-waste restaurants, and vertical gardens. Pairing urban resources with Leopold helps me keep up with students’ quickly shifting interests.
A rooftop herb garden supplies a local bakery.
A typical freshman writing class will have a mix of majors including English, Computer Science, Digital Media, History, Biology, and Commerce. Engaging varied interests requires finding course material that inspires individual thinking within the context of academic discourse.
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